In the rough and tumble days of the late 1800’s, the little town of Sidney, Nebraska was an important military and commercial outpost on the railroad lines that were becoming the arteries of American expansion. It was indeed the Wild West, populated by such colorful characters as Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane and earned the moniker, Toughest Town on the Tracks. In 2017 what was once called Sinful Sidney is celebrating its Sesquicentennial ( that’s 150 candles) between Aug. 18-20 with a double extravaganza. One is man-made and the other is Mother Nature made and utterly unique. Our guest Heather Haussmann, Cheyenne County Visitor and Convention Bureau, which is based in Sidney, has all the details for both events.
Sinful Sidney’s Sesquicentennial
This summer the “toughest town on the tracks” is rolling out the red carpet for lovers of the Wild West and good old fashioned family fun. Whether you are a classic car enthusiast, history buff or just making plans for a family vacation, you’ll want to save August 18-21 for a visit to Sidney, NE.
If any place knows how to throw a great party, it’s Sidney. Over the last 150 years the town, known as the “Wickedest Town in the West”, has seen the likes of Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane. Good food, non-stop entertainment, a classic car show and loads of activities for kids will be topped off by two extraordinary light shows. The first one will be a spectacular firework display on Sunday night at the Cheyenne County Fair Grounds. The second one will be a once in a lifetime experience put on Mother Nature.
On Monday, August 21, Western Nebraska will be one of the best places in the country to watch a total eclipse of the sun—make Sidney your hub. This will be the first total solar eclipse visible in continental United States for the 38 years and you will have one of the best seats in the house. Nebraska is one of a few places in the country that will be under the complete blackout as the moon blanks out the sun and day turns to night for nearly 3 minutes. It will be an historic event for young and old alike.
This summer Sinful Sidney 150 will be an awesome opportunity to enjoy a good old fashioned community celebration and get a good night’s rest before witnessing the rare historic event of a total solar eclipse. It’s an experience your family will treasure for the rest of their lives.
Don’t forget to mark the dates, August 18-21, 2017 in Sydney, NE. It’s going to be an unforgettable event that you won’t want to miss. For more information visit cheyennecountytourism.com and follow the celebration on Facebook at “Sinful Sidney 150 Sesquicentennial Celebration.”
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In our 2018 Spring Viva Las Vegas issue , under the Friends in the Fast Lane column, the lead story was about an 824 mile long garage sale! In this American Road Trip Talk podcast, you are going to meet Pat McDaniel, the lady who dreamed up this great gathering. The Historic National Road Garage sale took place from May 31 to June 4 Along US 40 from Baltimore to St. Louis. For ore information visit their Historic National Road Meanderings page on Facebook or www. oldstorefrontantiques.com
It's summer time and its hot. What better way to cool down then to spend some time at the lake. With that in mind, our Namesake town for this entry is Geneva, Ohio and the nearby summer resort town of Geneva on the Lake. Both are located in Ashtabula County, which has a wealth of museums and sites of historic interest. In addition there are some eighteen covered bridges in the county, including both the longest and shortest covered bridges in the United States. Add the ten or so wineries in the county and what's not to like?
At 613 feet the Smolen-Gulf Bridge, loacted on Ashtabula County Road 25 just south of the city of Ashtabula, is the longest covered bridge in the country and the fourth longest in the world. The map coordinates are (41.855458,-80.762204). At just 18 feet the shortest covered bridge is the West Liberty Street Bridge in the town of Geneva. The map coordinates for it are (41.799183,-80.948532). 
Please comment if you like these entries or have any feedback to offer.
From the book "For Namesake, a Travel Book" :
Geneva, Ohio is a town of 6,215 located in Ashtabula County along US Route 20. It lies 25 miles from the Pennsylvania border and 45 miles northeast of Cleveland. Geneva on the Lake is a town of 1,288, which lies 5 miles north of Geneva on Ohio Route 534. The county seat of Ashtabula County is Jefferson, located 10 miles southeast of Geneva. The closet college is Lake Erie College in the city of Painesville.
Ashtabula County was established in 1807 and was the first county created in the Connecticut Western Reserve. The area around Geneva was originally part of Harpersfield Township. In 1816 a small group of settlers decided to withdraw from Harpersfield and create their own community. They named it Geneva for the scenic town of Geneva, New York. With the completion of the Eric Canal in 1825, its location close to the lakefront added to its attraction. In 1829 the first post office was established. By 1840 the population was over 1,200. The Lake Shore railway came from Cleveland through Geneva to Ashtabula in 1852. The community of Geneva was incorporated as an official Ohio Village in 1866. By 1896 the village had a population of three thousand persons. In the early 1900’s Geneva gained its first automobile industry company with the manufacture of the Geneva Steamer in 1901. The company that manufactured this car closed just 3 years later. A few other attempts were made to manufacture automobiles in Geneva; however they too only lasted a few years. The grape industry has played an important part in the economy of Geneva and still does so today. In 1958 having obtained a population over 5000, Geneva was incorporated as an official Ohio “City”. 
Geneva on the Lake was Ohio’s first summer resort. It began in 1869 with the opening of the first public picnic ground on a bluff above Lake Erie known as Sturgeon Point. By the early 1900’s it had evolved into a camping and fishing playground for America’s elite. Incorporated as an Ohio Village in 1927; today it is a premier lakeshore vacationland. 
Ashtabula County has sixteen museums and sites of historic interest; the following is a sampling of those you may want to visit. The city of Ashtabula has Great Lakes Marine & Coast Guard Memorial Museum, Hubbard House (a northern terminus of the Underground Railroad) and Olin’s Museum of Covered Bridges. Conneaut has the Conneaut Historical Railroad Museum. Shandy Hall, 2 miles south of Geneva, is the 1815 home of Robert Harper and said to be the oldest frame house in the Western Reserve to be preserved in its original form. Hartsgrove has the Presidential Museum. In Jefferson you will find a nice railroad depot and the Victorian Perambulation Museum. In Windsor there is the Servants of Mary Center for Peace featuring a fifty-foot statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. There are eighteen covered bridges in Ashtabula County including the longest one in the United States, spanning a distance of 613 feet.  The warm breezes off of Lake Erie make this region a prime location for growing grapes and there are some ten wineries in the county.  Geneva hosts an annual Grape festival in September. Geneva on the Lake is a very popular summer resort with a strip of tourist oriented businesses and parks. To learn about all of the attractions in the area stop by the Geneva on the Lake Visitor Information center at 5536 Lake Road.
Enjoy the Lake Erie shoreline with boating, camping, hiking, fishing or just relaxing at Geneva State Park, just one mile from Geneva on the Lake. Additional recreation areas include Pymatuning State Park and Reservoir, Mosquito Lake State Park and Reservoir, Headlands Beach State Park, and Punderson State Park.
Notable residents of Geneva include Brian Anderson, major league baseball pitcher; Edward S. Ellis, dime novel author; and Ransom E. Olds, automobile industry pioneer.
Picture is Harpersfield Covered Bridge, at 228 feet in length this was the longest covered bridge in Ohio until the construction of the Smolen-Gulf Bridge in 2008.
Picture Credit: (Wikimedia Commons – User: Homefryes CC-BY-SA)
Hello. Tho I am new to this media, blogging, I am not new to American Road. I've been around since the beginning. I do have a road trip web site, but decided to give this blog a try to post my rather infrequent road trips in the Memphis, TN, area.
Being nearly 73 years old I'm old enough to remember the good old days of 2-lane road travel. Indeed, I went with my folks in the late 40's and early 50's on several trips from southern Maine to the Dayton, Ohio, area to visit friends and relatives. I look back and think, good old days?? Hot summer days on the road in a 10 year old Chrysler with no AC?? Motels that were more cabin than motel and usually not air conditioned?? Greasy spoon diners - tho most were pretty good. But, it was still exiting for a 10 year old to see what was around the corner. Kids miss so much today on vacation trips on the interstate. And there's not much new around the corner - or down the road, either. Got a Mickey D's in your home town - you'll find many along the road - along with BurgerKing, Wendy's, shopping malls with the same stores. No, kids today miss a lot.
Back in 1953 I was crazy enough to go to the west coast, from Maine, with a buddy of mine, on 20 to the mid-west where we picked up 66 to California. Then 101, more or less north to Oregon and Washington, then home to Maine, mostly on 20, but some on 30, 6 and 2. We were celebrating the big transition from child-hood to adult-hood - getting our drivers licenses. At the time, in Maine, you could get a license at 15 - Maine was largely rural and farm land so 15 year olds were expected to drive the family farm equipment, trucks, etc. Can you imagine two 15 year olds driving across country today?? Probably wouldn't get out of the state, to start with.
So, I'll probably be posting more on my new blog as time goes by. Won't be every day, won't be ever week. We'll try to find something to add at least inside a six month window.
Happy, and safe, travels everybody.
Sheila and I enjoyed a National Parks fall tour a couple of weeks ago, but I have not posted much of the trip. Other activities have intervened, including the rediscovery of Spencer on the National Parks Highway (see posts on the forum).
Our National Parks tour took us through Rainier, Glacier, and the North Cascades, and of course we stayed on the two lane roads. Interestingly, the highlight of the trip wasn’t any of the parks. Don’t get me wrong….all three are breathtakingly beautiful, and it has been years since I have been to Glacier. The photo I posted of Lake McDonald shows its beauty, and Rainier and the North Cascades were no less magnificent.
But the highlights of the trip were the small, unassuming, basically unknown old lodges on lakes, miles from civilization. You won’t find these places in your AAA Tour Book, or in any “travel and spa” magazine. In fact, I had the feeling that maybe the owners and the clientele liked it that way!
These are not the magnificent and storied lodges where a night will set you back a half week’s wages. They are simple, often rustic as the word was meant to be used, and personal.
We stopped at three such lodges. These places harken back to the mom and pop days of road travel, and of course are still owned and operated by mom and pop. Mom serves up the food and cleans the cabins, and pop maintains the cabins and lodge, and tends bar in the evening.
These lodges were everywhere in the west when I was a younger guy. Some of my fondest memories are of St Bernard Lodge (Chester / Mill Creek, CA) or Childs Meadows Lodge (Mt Lassen area), or Idywild Lodge (San Jacinto Mountains, So. Cal) and a half dozen others. Most are gone, but the tradition lives on in a few places.
I know that it is comfortable to pull into a nice franchise motel for the night with the confidence the room will be clean, and often rather “familiar.” I don’t know how many motel doors we have opened and “recognized” the room. But I promise we didn’t “recognize” our room (cabin) at the typical example of the three lodges we visited.
The beds were in the loft with a lake view, and downstairs the easy chairs had a view of the lake through the big picture window. There was a small deck, a barbeque, and a picnic table outside. Inside we had a stove and refrigerator and a TV, but no phone. The bathroom had a heater (!!!). The room was clean, but nothing was new. And there was no exercise room, no pool, and no steel armored door locks with triple deadbolts.
The lodge had a small store, heavy on fishing gear, beer, and beef jerky, and a combination dining room, bar, and pool table area, with one corner devoted to fishing photos, and another to a fireplace. The owner tended bar and cooked and served a great steak dinner.
In early October we had the dining room to ourselves. The steak filled half the plate and I had to leave half of my second glass of wine because the glasses were so big I feared I would stagger on the walk back to the cabin. The meal was straight forward, fresh and as good as home….or better.
Our biggest hardship was that there was Wifi only in the lodge which didn’t reach the cabins, and the TV in the room was only useful to play DVD’s. Since the two steak dinners and wine came in under $30 and the cabin set us back $65, we suffered in silence!!!
If I ever get around to posting stories of this trip, I’ll include some of the mom and pop lodges of the Northwest.
I just returned from a conference in Norfolk, NE (that's pronounced Nor-FoRk) and had a great time exploring despite the rain.
I visited the Elkhorn Valley Museum and Research Center. They have some great vignettes- blacksmith, the parlor, the kitchen and more. Norfolk is the home of the square-turn tractor and they have one there to prove it (built in 1916)! They also have some great memorabilia from local restaurants- I especially like the menu from the Brass Lantern.
The biggest exhibit by far is the Johnny Carson area. He hailed from Norfolk- and they even made a special show of one of his "home comings" to Norfolk. The exhibit features a really comfy sectional sofa with a big TV and headphones- there is no way you can pass up this invitation to sit back and listen to one (OK- a few) of his monologues! There is also a life size model of him on stage- complete with the multi-colored curtains that everyone remembers from The Tonight Show (they actually are from a resident's house- she recreated the Tonight Show curtains for her living room- now that is devotion!). Just don't be surprised when the opening song starts to play as you approach the stage area. There are no pictures allowed inside the exhibit- but I was able to get one of the entry area (see the photo album attached).
Their research area was great! It was well organized, well stocked and the people were very nice about making copies for me despite the fact that they were expecting a bus load of folks at any minute (Thanks ladies!)
I also stumbled upon a great antique shop in the downtown area. They stayed open late and had a great selection of stuff. I bought an oil lamp and a Boy Scout Song Book from 1960's (complete with a "Cussing Chip" which has now been copied for use at our local Boy Scout Shop for Scout Masters to purchase before outings... they should actually be called anti-cussing chips probably). The owner was really friendly and we had a great discussion as we both noticed that we knew the words to an old Charlie Daniels song despite having not heard it for several years. I have included some photos of the shop as well.
Here some links about Norfolk, NE:
http://www.newvictorianinn.com (This is where I stayed- very nice and really reasonable rates!)
Wow, it's been a busy month. I traveled to Atlanta for the Southeast Tourism Society conference. Had a quick, but, beautiful trip, to York, Pennsylvania, and had a great four day road trip (doing research for an upcoming article for the magazine) in Michigan and Ohio.
The leaves on the trees were turning in PA, MI, and Ohio. The weather was crisp, and it was a great time for a road trip!
You'll find copies of American Road magazine at newsstands and many fine book stores (on-sale date is Sept 22) including:
Barnes and Noble
You'll also find copies of American Road magazine available at fine outlets along America's back roads, including:
Afton Station, Afton, Okla.
Arizona Route 66 Assn Gift Shop, Kingman, Ariz.
Cozy Dog Drive In, Ill., Springfield, Ill.
Munger Moss Motel, Lebanon, Mo.
National Route 66 Museum, Elk City, Okla.
Route 66 Mother Road Museum, Barstow, Calif.
One of the best things in food I love about the Southwest is Nachos. There are so many different ways of creating them and during my journeys through the Southwest US, I am always amazed at the different creations. I developed this recipe myself combining several different variations I seen over time. This recipe is great for entertaining and can even be done in an RV if you want to entertain company at the park. The best part is I found a way to make a hearty nacho appetizer dish a meal initself. A lot of people I have made this for have asked me why the lettuce does not wilt when I put it under the heat during the last step, and it is a result of the cheese melting over top of the lettuce that creates a protective barrier from the air. Enjoy and do not forget the margaritas!!!!.
2 lb. Chicken, boneless, diced
1 lb. Tortilla chips
1 head iceberg lettuce
3 diced fresh tomatoes
1 diced onion, purple or white
1 lb. Mexican Blend shredded cheese
8 oz sour cream
8 oz guacamole
8-oz salsa, any type
Spray a half size commercial sheet pan with cooking spray. Cook chicken in sauté pan over medium heat, as an option you can season with some Mexican style seasoning, until breasts are cooked fully. Let cool, than dice. Spread Tortilla chips on sheet pan. Add chicken on top of chips. Add tomatoes and onions spreading them around chips. Than take a spoon and dab on the sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on top of the chips, spacing evenly throughout. Shred the lettuce with knife than top over chips. The lettuce can be heaping. (Note: substituting with pre-shredded back lettuce will not work, it will wilt.) After lettuce, top with cheese and place in oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. When cheese is melted, it is done and ready to serve. This full recipe can serve 10 to 12 very hungry people and is good for parties.
Hello all you "Road Warriors" out there and welcome to the Road Recipe Warrior blog. This blog is dedicated to good food and spirits all over the country. The "Flavor of America" during any roadtrip is a memory always worth preserving and what better way to preserve it then to be able to prepare good food from around the country and share them with friends and family during a get together or party, etc. Even prepare them on the road while enroute to your next destination or lounging around for a while in a beautiful resort with the RV. Have a campground "party"!!
Ok let's start by hopping on the road!! Thought I would share a picture of an ultimate road machine, a flashback from the day when muscle cars ruled the way:
This recipe takes soup to a whole new level. Very popular in many restaurants in the Southwest and Southern California.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
8 oz celery, diced
8 oz carrots, diced
8 oz onions, diced
8oz frozen corn
2 small cans diced tomatoes/with chilies
1 8oz can black beans
1 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 lb. boneless chicken breasts, grilled than diced.
Grille the chicken breasts in a large lightly oiled skillet. Sprinkle with fajita seasoning. Cook chicken until white all the way through, than remove from pan and cool. In crock-pot, add diced celery, onion, carrots, crushed tomatoes and canned tomatoes with chisel. Dice chicken after cooling and add. Set crock-pot on high and close with lid. Let simmer for 3 hours stirring occasionally. Than add black beans and corn. Cover and continue to simmer on high for 2 more hours. Stir occasionally. Note: if soup begins to look a little watery, add a can of tomato paste. Serve hot. On the Border tortilla chips make a great compliment to this. The soup is hearty enough to dip chips in soup. Recommended wine: A good semi-sweet White Wine or a Sangria. A margarita goes especially well with this. Enjoy!!!!!
Great news! Sara (our Marketing Manager and Advertising Associate) had her baby last Tuesday - a girl. Less than 7 pounds. Sara's husband called that day and said that mom and baby are doing well. So, join us in welcoming a new American roadie to the world!
American Road magazine is now available at the famous Cozy Dog Drive-in on Route 66.
Grab a Cozy Dog and pick up a copy of the magazine to enjoy with your lunch, dinner, or snack! http://www.cozydogdrivein.com/
Took a weekend trip over to Marinette, WI to drop off Mike for a 5- day bike trip. Each year Mike takes a ride and I take advantage of the drop off and pick up trips to explore with the kids. This year it was a drop off in Marinette, so on the way home we stopped at the Peshtigo Fire Museum and Bay Beach Amusement Park (Green Bay). Great fun, educational and economical!
The Peshtigo Fire occurred the very same day as the Great Chicago Fire (October 8, 1871), it killed more people and caused much greater damage. The mix of poor land management, draught conditions and a strong wind caused not just a forest fire, but a devastating fire storm. The Peshtigo Fire Museumis located in an old church that was moved across the river and contains a artifacts from the fire (including some raspberry preserves that were petrified by the flames!) They also have a nice selection of items from the late 1800’s to the mid 1900’s. There is also an adjoining cemetery where some of the fire’s victims are buried, including a mass grave for those who could not be identified. Several of the graves include a plaque with information about their fire experience. Admission is free- donationa are appreciated.
Bay Beach in Green Bay is a traditional amusement park. In fact it is celebrating 100 years this year! It has many picnic areas for a lunch and a pavilion for sitting (or having a burger). The rides include a nice mix of rides for small children and exciting rides for big kids. Favorites for this crew were the Yo-Yo (swings), Scrambler and Tilt-A-Whirl. Admission to the park is free, the Rides take 1 – 2 tickets and tickets are just 25 cents each.
Roy and Johnny. Idols of 1970's American youth... or at least my youth. Emergency! Do you remember the guys at Station 51 (Chet, Cap, Marco) and at Rampart (Doctors Joe Early and Kelly Brackett and Nurse Dixie). I still love to watch them and I have hooked my kids on the show (along with Adam 12 and other clasics). I am incredibly jealous that in Milwaukee they can watch Emergency! every night at 6 PM. Thank goodness for DVD's and Hulu!
Which brings me to the purpose of this entry... today's impromptu road trip south to Stevens Point.
I saw in the paper today that Randolph Mantooth (Johnny Gage for uninitiated) was going to be in Stevens Point signing autographs and such. So... when 3:30 hit I was out the door with my daughter Greta (who was pretty excited, too) and on our way. I remembered to grab Mike's Emergency! game from his youth, but forgot my purse.
It was a small crowd so we were able to get autographs right away and get a few pictures even. It was a brief encounter- but a fun one. It took a few years to finally meet him, but I am a patient girl. Robert Conrad, you're next...
Eat your heart out Becky!
By the way, a bit of trivia... Bobby Troup (Dr. Joe Early) wrote the song Get Your Kicks On Route 66. Here is a link to him singing one of his signature songs:
Things have been really busy at American Road HQ lately. Sara Wilson, our Marketing Manager and Ad Sales Associate will be going on maternity leave for a few months. We're very excited for Sara, but, we will definitely miss her while she's out.
Mike Joyce, our Ad Sales Associate for the Rocky Mountains region is retiring after 45 years in the business. We're going to miss Mike. We hope he has an opportunity to relax and enjoy the American Road!
Stepping in to take over the Rocky Mountain and the Great Plains Regions is Christine Martens. Christine will also serve as Marketing Coordinator. Christine comes to us with nine years of experience at Wausau (Wisconsin) CVB. We are very excited to have Christine join us. Christine is a regular road warrior--she has worked for the Wisconsin Highway 51 Association. Christine's Forum name is WisHxGeek - so, please join me in welcoming Christine.
Becky has asked that moderators create a blog to test the blog feature on the forum site. Just as I lack knowledge of forums, I lack knowledge of blogs. I don’t generally read them, and I don’t have one….except here. So this is a blog from a non blogger, non twitterer, who you won’t find on facebook or my space. If I violate the conventions of blogs…..live with it.
So what do I want to blog “at” you? I have no idea. But I’ll try to stay with road related stuff.
I bought a used convertible last week, so I can travel the roads in the sunshine and breeze. And it looks sporty in the driveway!
I have owned half a dozen convertibles. This one is a “Florida Special,” big, with lots of body twisting over railroad tracks. It is what would be called an old man’s convertible, not the kind of machines that Denny or Dave Reese have. But put the top down, crank up the stereo with some good 50’s sounds, and cruise town a little, and you are “back in the 50’s again.”
I told Sheila that the first day I had it, I got a thousand dollars of pleasure out of it.
Then the next day I went through a construction zone with some great rock on full volume, and got the high sign from the girl flaggers. I haven’t had that much female attention in 20 years! Another $1000! Keep that up and the car will pay for itself in a month.
Berwyn Andrus has been sending me more material concerning his father Dolph. Dolph was quite the road adventurer! Even in his eighties he was out where he shouldn’t have been….getting stuck. It has been a real pleasure to read what Dolph and Irene (his wife) wrote about Utah in the “old days.”
One of the things he sent was a more detailed map of the Monumental Highway. Dolph prepared it but it was never published because it was more detailed than the Good Roads people needed, or Hopkins thought was necessary. It is a large file, but you can download or view it HERE.
OK, Becky, that is my first “blog!” Or is that a blog? What now? Should I focus on maps instead of “personal” experiences? Testing…..testing…..
Dave (Keep the Show on the Road)
Thanks for visiting my blog. I invite you to visit often. This is where I plan to record thoughts, memories, and photos from travels on the American Road.
We hope to see you on the back roads!